For two of the three Bassmaster Classic qualifiers from Mississippi, the second day of the event on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell was a big improvement. For the third, well, it was an experience.
Unfortunately, none of the Magnolia anglers made the top 25 cut, so their Classic is over.
Cliff Pace of Petal changed tactics after a poor first day and weighed in a five-fish limit that went 12 pounds, 9 ounces, to give him a total of 16 pounds, 14 ounces — not enough to make the cut for Sunday’s final round. He finished in 35th.
“Sometimes you go out and swing for the fences and strike out,” Pace said, explaining his troubles on Friday. “Today, I left all that junk in the rod locker and went fishing the way I wanted to. I went to what I should have been going the whole time — fishing a jig out in deep water.
“I fished shallow yesterday, and I think the weather killed my shallow fish. I got caught up in it. I should have moved; then I caught a 3-pounder and stayed another two hours. Then I got ready to move and caught another 3-pounder and stayed another two hours. Then, I just got caught up on time.”
Veteran Paul Elias of Laurel, who didn’t catch a fish in the first round, rebounded to catch three today for a total of 8 pounds, 8 ounces. He ended the event in 49th.
“I had three bites and caught them all,” Elias said. “I felt it slipping away after the second day of practice, but I got in a rut. I was trying new water all the time, thought I had a pattern, but it didn’t work, and I was stuck with two shallow places I had any confidence in — and the cold weather zapped them yesterday. But they were in there schooling today.”
B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier Teb Jones of Hattiesburg couldn’t repeat his 7-pound, 9-ounce catch on Friday, failing to bring in a fish today. That dropped him from 33rd to 51st.
“I didn’t get a single bite,” he said. “I changed considerably and ran different stuff, but I never picked up a bite. The cloud cover pulled the fish off the stuff I was fishing, and they got out there suspended. It’s tough to catch fish suspended over 40 feet of water.”
Click here to read about the squeaky-tight field competing in the final round of the Classic.